The Holy Name Library for the Franciscan Institute protects the university's collection of rare books, described by the National Endowment for the Humanities as "a unique national asset of great value to American humanistic scholarship."
It includes the most important collection of Franciscana in North America, more than 9,000 rare books and manuscripts dating from the 12th century up to and including the seminal journals of renowned monastic Thomas Merton, who taught English at St. Bonaventure in the early 1940s. It also holds collections from various provincial and college libraries that were entrusted to St. Bonaventure when those institutions closed.
The addition protects this stunning collection with state-of-the-art mechanical, electrical, security and fire suppression systems, housed in a climate-controlled vault-like structure surrounded by a glass-enclosed walkway. The interior includes high-density shelving to maximize floor space and efficiency.
A well supplies the building with 50-degree water for the air conditioning system. It is a significant green element of the building designed to save the university money as well as protect the environment.
The design of the addition, rather than replicating the existing structure, complements both the original library and the 1970s addition with an assemblage of materials and textures.
The terra cotta roofing that for decades has helped distinguish the St. Bonaventure campus is incorporated into the design, with high-performance glass offering a way to safely open the reading rooms and common areas to beautiful southerly views and to integrate with the glass and brick of the 1970s addition.
The addition is set back from the main north facade, providing an outdoor contemplative garden area. At night, the glass walkway surrounding the inner building core is lit, showcasing the unique design.
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